Conservatives' Facebook post promoting Bill C-51 may be violation of same law: expert
Even some Conservatives say the party’s Facebook post promoting its anti-terrorism bill, using an image of a Somali militant and a quote threatening an attack on the West Edmonton Mall, was over the top. But the ad may also be in violation of the very law the government is trying to implement.
Thomas Lukaszuk, an Alberta Progressive Conservative MLA, says the post "touches on divisive politics.'
"It touches on capitalizing fear -– that's just not what I would do," Lukaszuk said.
And Alberta MP Laurie Hawn, who has announced he's not running in the next election, said in a statement to CTV News that he supports his party but, "I wouldn't have made that post; call it a matter of style."
NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, who is leading the opposition to Bill C-51, has attacked the Conservatives for their Facebook post. "Stephen Harper is trying to fundraise on fear and frankly I find that shameful," Mulcair said.
The Facebook post did not ask for political donations, but it provided a link to the party website where donations can be made.
The quote used in the Facebook post is drawn from a video of the al-Qaeda-linked group al-Shabaab. The use of such language, experts argue, is in violation of the legislation that the Conservatives are trying to promote.
Bill C-51 aims to remove terrorist propaganda from the Internet, and the party's Facebook post could be interpreted as a retransmission of such propaganda –- using a still from the terrorist group's video and a quote from the video message.
Lorne Waldman, a Toronto lawyer who specializes in immigration and refugee law, says the Facebook ad "could well be against the new proposed law.”
"I think it could certainly be argued that this ad, if it were promulgated after the legislation was passed, could lead to charges being laid against the Conservative Party of Canada," Waldman said.
Waldman finds that ironic, especially because critics have been saying all along that the legislation is too broad, and was hastily prepared. The ad, he says, "encompasses a lot of activities that could be legitimate and needs to be amended."
The Conservatives defend the Facebook post.
"This post informed Canadians about the legislation we brought forward," Alberta Conservative MP Tim Uppal said. "It's important for Canadians to know what this government is doing to help keep them safe."